BreakPoint: Iceland ‘Close to Eradicating Down Syndrome Births’

They’re Killing, Not Curing

One Scandinavian country’s treatment of the vulnerable is a barometer for where the rest of the world is headed.

While the nation was cringing last week and every media outlet buzzing about the neo-Nazi imagery from Charlottesville, another story reminiscent of the Third Reich emerged from, of all places, Iceland.

CBS tweeted out the story with the tagline: “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”

“With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States,” read the report, “the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.”

More than a few people found the tone of the article and its headline…celebratory. Among them was actress Patricia Heaton, whom you may remember as Deborah from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Heaton blasted CBS for the headline and the story, pointing out that “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”

Amen. Of course, as CBS goes on to admit, “Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.”

That’s not the half of it, actually. Research published in 2011 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that 99 percent of individuals with Down syndrome report being happy, 94 percent of their siblings express pride in their brother or sister with Down syndrome, and just 4 percent of parents regretted their decision to keep their child.

This is important for one simple reason: The entire argument for aborting children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is based on quality of life. It’s not a medical concern.

Such children, goes the argument, are an unwelcome burden on their parents or on society, and in the end, will live unhappy lives. So, “it will be better for them,” we are told.

But if you or a friend has someone with Down syndrome in the family, you know nothing could be further from the truth! Those with “Downs” are often the most joyful and loving people you meet.

Even more horrifying, Iceland is a small country, but other larger nations aren’t lagging far behind in this eugenics experiment. In Denmark, 98 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are killed. In France, it’s 77 percent. And in the U. S. it’s a shameful 67 percent.

When asked why such high percentages of babies with Down syndrome are aborted, Icelandic geneticist Kari Stefansson admitted it wasn’t for medical reasons. Rather, it’s due to “heavy-handed genetic counseling,” or pressure by authority figures to abort.

One pregnancy counselor in Iceland told CBS, “We don’t look at abortion as a murder…We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication…preventing suffering for the child and for the family.” Or in other words, trust us, “it’s for your own good…”

Tell that to Thordis Ingadottir and her beautiful seven-year-old daughter, Augusta, one of the few people in Iceland with Down syndrome who hasn’t been killed. The pair have become crusaders for those with disabilities, so that they will be “fully integrated on [their] own terms” into society. After all, asks her mom, “What kind of society do you want to live in?”

That’s a good question, as prenatal screening becomes more widely available, and much of the world grapples with this new breed of eugenics. Make no mistake—what we’re witnessing here is the systematic extermination of children who are, by society’s standards, less than perfect. It’s worth remembering that the first groups killed by the Nazis in their quest for perfection by eugenics were those with disabilities.

Will ours be a similar society, in which we claim to eliminate disabilities by eliminating those who have them? It’s up to you and me to decide.

 

Iceland ‘Close to Eradicating Down Syndrome Births’: They’re Killing, not Curing

Pray that our culture has a mind and heart change to save and not abort babies with Down syndrome. And put your pro-life convictions into action by taking time to support, encourage and give hands-on help to friends and families with Down syndrome members.

 

Resources

Down Syndrome Awareness Makes a Difference
  • Mark W. Leach | Public Discourse | October 7, 2011
Down Syndrome Speaks
  • Sohrab Ahmari | Commentary Magazine | August 23, 2017

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  • Zarm

    Sickening. Even by the most abortion-positive standards, it’s 100$ clear that Iceland is doing nothing to actually CURE Down’s Syndrome, merely killing almost everyone that has it. That’s never something to be proud of, nor an accomplishment, nor even newsworthy except as a human-rights atrocity. It’s like trying to put a positive spin on ‘Hitler having nearly eliminated the Jew problem in Germany.’ Sure, you can put an end to almost any disease (or people group, or belief system) if you massacre everyone that is a part of it… but that’s not an achievement, it’s a monstrosity.

    • Phoenix1977

      Thanks to the United States genetic conditions cannot be cured easily. The Bush administration successfully lobbied for an international treaty banning gene therapy. Although Down Syndrome would not be curable that way anyway, since curing Down Syndrome would mean you’d have to remove the extra chromosome 21 from all cells of the body and that simply cannot be done.

      • Zarm

        This is all quite true. However, trying to sell the execution of everyone who has Downs Syndrome (with an equal occurrence rate in pregnancies, simply killing each of the fetuses with the syndrome) as some sort of ‘progress against’ the syndrome is disingenuous even leaving aside the issue of abortion itself; that was my intended point. (Which should read 100%, rather than 100$, incidentally. 😉 )

  • James of Woodlawn

    Question: What do Iceland and Nazi Germany have in common?

    Answer: The killing of all those who possess birth defects and are most vulnerable in the society all in the name of eugenics.

    Next question: Who is next, Iceland?

    Answer: We’ll get back to you.

  • Phoenix1977

    “One Scandinavian country’s treatment of the vulnerable is a barometer for where the rest of the world is headed.”
    You do know Iceland isn’t part of Scandinavia, right?

    “Of course, as CBS goes on to admit, “Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years.””
    When considering the average life expectancy of a man born today to be between 80 and 82 years and that of a woman to be between 87 and 89 years it’s quite difficult, from a medical point of view, to combine “healthy lives” and “average lifespan of around 60 years”.
    And even “healthy” is debatable. People with Down Syndrome are more prone to genetic cardiovascular disease and congenital heart defects. Also malfunctions in the gastrointestinal tract, such as a blind ending esophagus, are common. Most children with Down Syndrome are required to have heavy, dangerous surgery before the age of one and most have been operated on several times before the reach their teens.
    So let’s skip to the end of their lives, shall we? According to some papers 97% of the adults with Down Syndrome develop early onset dementia and turn quite dangerous in those last few years. They have no control over their actions but, in general, have quite a large muscle mass compared to people without Down Syndrome. Although not all become dangerous since quite a few are in wheelchairs because of broken bones due to severe osteoporosis or congestive heart failure (due to the congenital heart defects they were born with and could not completely be repaired).

    I’m not advocating a forced abortion of people with Down Syndrome. That’s up to the women being pregnant. It’s simply not my place to tell women what to do with their bodies. What I am advocating is a truthful story about what it means to have Down Syndrome or to grow up with someone with Down Syndrome. It’s not all rose petals and sunshine. The beginning is hard, the ending is hard and the middle is not a walk in the park either. And simply not everyone is capable of supporting a relative with Down Syndrome or caring for them. John Stonestreet gives some nice statistics of families with Down Syndrome: “just 4 percent of parents regretted their decision to keep their child.” But has anyone ever asked the siblings who will need to care for a person with Down Syndrome once the parents are out of the picture? Or the siblings who felt abandoned because all attention in the family went to the one with Down Syndrome who needed extra care or who required everything in the family to revolve around them? How many teenagers with a brother or sister with Down Syndrome are actually comfortable enough to bring friends home, for example? The answer is that we don’t know. Because all research done depends on people voluntarily filing out questionaires. And the people not happy with a sibling or child with Down Syndrome will either not fill those out or will not fill them out honestly. Because admitting you resent your child or sibling because of a disability is even in our current society a bridge too far.

    • Gina Dalfonzo

      There appears to be some debate over your first point: https://www.britannica.com/place/Scandinavia

      As for the point about siblings, you make the assumption that even if we did such studies, they would be dishonest. So you seem to suggest (correct me if I misinterpret you) that we might as well not do them, and that if they showed the opposite of what you assume, you’d refuse to believe them. Logical fallacy much?

      • Phoenix1977

        “There appears to be some debate over your first point: ”
        Iceland doesn’t consider itself Scandinavian; European countries don’t consider Iceland to be Scandinavian; the European Union doesn’t consider Iceland to be Scandinavian and international law does not consider Iceland to be Scandinavian. Because if Iceland WAS considered Scandinavian it would automatically have access to the European Economic Area, which would mean Iceland would not be petitioning for that access for the better part of a decade by now.

        “So you seem to suggest (correct me if I misinterpret you) that we might as well not do them, and that if they showed the opposite of what you assume, you’d refuse to believe them.”
        It’s actually not my suggestion but from the scientific community. It’s indeed accepted in science questionnaires are unreliable, especially when dealing with controversial topics. One example is the CDC study on LGBTs in the 1980s which gave us the infamous 3% of the people being LGBT. The CDC has long since then stated the results from that one questionnaire to be unreliable because the study was done when LGBTs were still living in secret because being outed as gay could get you into a world of (legal) trouble.
        But other, for this website, less controversial examples also exist. In questionnaires the number of people smoking cigarettes is declining steadily. And yet there is no decrease in the number of cigarettes manufactured and sold or the wealth of the tobacco industry. Just as the number of people stating only to practice “safe sex” is steadily high in questionnaires and yet the number of HIV infections and other STD’s is on a constant rise as well. Those results simply don’t add up.
        So the scientific community agrees on not using questionnaires for controversial subjects. And, if they are used anyway, not to put too much faith in the results.

        • Gina Dalfonzo

          So your assumption can never be disproven. How remarkably convenient for you. 🙂

          • Phoenix1977

            “So your assumption can never be disproven.”
            Not with the techniques we currently have, no.

            “How remarkably convenient for you. :-)”
            Pleading the fifth on that one 🙂

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Well, leaving aside questions of scientific proof for the moment, the fact is that millions of people throughout history have had to care for siblings or other family members in need. It’s not easy, and people aren’t always happy about it. But it’s one of the things that families are for. I mean, we could shove each other out in the snow to die whenever the other person becomes more of a burden than we feel able or willing to handle, but (borrowing from another thread you and I were on today) wouldn’t that make it an even more terrifying world than it already is?

          • gladys1071

            Gina,

            Not all family members have family near them or family that might be willing to take on these burdens. You assume that all families are alike and actually get a long and want to either be burden to others or carry those burdens.

            I think it is great when family members like siblings, auntes, uncles want to take on these burdens, it is different to assume that everyone will. People in this day and age have to work and have their own responsibilties and cannot always take over taking care of a child or adult that may never function or be able to be independent because of some genetic defect.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            I made no such assumption, Gladys. I said that many (not all) people do it even when it’s very hard and when they’re not happy about it.

          • gladys1071

            i understand, that is why each couple has to count the cost, before they decide whether to abort or give birth, and also think about the actual child, that will grow up to be an adult and have to face life in this very inhospitable world.

          • Sam Benito

            Morally, “counting the cost” of having children is something that can only be done before conception, not after.

          • gladys1071

            that is your opinion, but a lot of people will abort WANTED pregnancies due to abnormalities like DS and that is their right. You may not approve, but it is their right to do so, and it is not yours or anyone else’s business.

  • Ron

    Should be noted that Iceland does not force people to have an abortion apon a positive test result for Downs, nor is the test mandatory. Icelanders could be considered Scandinavian on the basis of their historical ethnicity though not on a political or geological basic.